When animals fatten up and slow down for the winter months, it's so they'll be able to survive during a time when they're unable to hunt or gather. While we humans can't use the same excuse, we do tend to put on extra weight during cold weather [source: Casey]. And a lack of time spent outdoors is a prime reason.
Once the temperatures get warmer, you may want to be more active but you worry your work schedule will keep you indoors. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can head outside for a workout while you're still at the office.
And pretty soon, your excuses for not staying fit will melt away like the snow.
Do you think your job leaves you little time to work out? You don't have to make it to the gym every day to get in exercise. Small moves add up. Obesity expert James O'Hill believes people can lose weight simply by increasing the amount of steps in their day [source: Zelman].
Apply this philosophy and start parking your car as far away from your office building as possible each morning, or start walking to your favorite restaurant for lunch. In the winter months, inclement weather may make these actions less than ideal. The warm-weather seasons, however, are a prime time to take the parking-lot hike and start accumulating steps. You'll find it much more enjoyable than the monotony of a treadmill.
There are also other gym exercises that can be modified for outdoor, workday workouts. Ditch the stair-climber for the steps outside your office building. You might also want to trade the stationary bike for what's next on our list. Keep reading to find out.
Remember when you were a kid and thought it would be so cool just to ride your bike to school rather than taking the bus? Well now you have that chance, in a way. If you live close enough to where you work, cycle instead of driving. Not only will you be getting quite a workout, but you'll also save money on gas.
Even if you can't ride your bike to work, consider investing in a bike rack for your car so that you can take advantage of your two-wheel workout during lunch. And a bicycle isn't the only way to roll toward fitness -- rollerblades can offer another way for you to exercise quickly during your lunch break.
Slow down for the following exercises.
When the weather is warm and beautiful, a lot of people look for excuses to go outside and enjoy the sunshine, chirping birds and green grass. If you find yourself escaping the confines of your office building for lunches, breaks and even quick breathers, you might be inspired by meditative exercises like yoga or tai chi -- activities that were meant to be done in nature rather than on conference room floors.
Even just a bit of stretching will leave you feeling more renewed. However, the fast pace of a typical workday can make it challenging for many people to slow down, reflect and get centered. If possible, find a spot that's a little bit away from the hustle and bustle of workplace activity, but is still inspiring. This will allow you to perform your moves with a relative amount of peace.
On a more practical note, make sure you bring along a mat if you're going to be doing yoga outdoors.
Keep reading for a more traditional workout.
One of the easiest warm-weather workouts you can get during your workday involves little more than lacing up your sneakers. A jog or fast-paced walk can burn a fair amount of calories and get your adrenaline pumping enough to push you through the rest of the afternoon.
Try circling your parking lot or building on foot. If you work in an office park, hike to another building and back. You'll find you can create numerous, creative routes -- just be sure to use caution in high-traffic areas of the parking lot. To add more fun to your daily laps, find a walking (or running) buddy from your office.
One more tip to go.
Some corporations send employees on retreats to embark upon teambuilding activities like the notorious "falling" exercise where an individual plunges backward into a pile of co-workers and expects to be safely caught. Perhaps a simpler, more old-fashioned approach would be just as effective: competitive team sports. And -- bonus -- you'd get more exercise that way, too.
If your company has a team in an after-work sports league, take advantage of the opportunity to get fit with your co-workers. Warm-weather sports like softball will really get you sweating. You might even try something new and unique like adult dodgeball.
If your company doesn't have any sports leagues, consider starting one. Impromptu after-work games like pick-up basketball are another fun, active option.
You'll find lots more fitness information on the next page.
Is exercising at work widely accepted? Visit Discovery Fit & Health to learn if exercising at work is widely accepted.
- Arthritis Today. "Answering Your Tai Chi Questions." (March 6, 2011)http://www.arthritistoday.org/fitness/other-exercise/tai-chi-questions.php
- Bouchez, Colette. "The Lunch Hour Workout." WebMD. 2006. (March 6, 2011)http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/the-lunch-hour-workout
- Brown, Rebecca. "Workout Schedule: Work Out on Your Lunch Break." Shape. (March 6, 2011)http://www.shape.com/fitness/workout-schedule-work-out-on-your-lunch-break
- Buchan, Meaghan. " Lose weight on your lunch break." Self. (March 6, 2011)http://www.self.com/fitness/workouts/2007/10/lunch-break-slideshow#slide=1
- Casey, John. "5 Tips to Avoid Winter Weight Gain." WebMD. (March 6, 2011)http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/5-tips-to-avoid-winter-weight-gain
- Fit Sugar. "Join the Office Softball League and Burn Calories." March 13, 2007. (March 6, 2011)http://www.fitsugar.com/Join-Office-Softball-League-Burn-Calories-170647
- Levine, Irene S. "Mind Matters: Get Moving." Science Careers. (March 6, 2011)http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previous_issues/articles/2008_07_25/caredit_a0800113
- Mayo Clinic. "How to Start a Walking Group." March 25, 2009. (March 6, 2011)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/walking/SM00062_D
- Noelcke, Liz. "Post-Workout Beauty Tips." Spark People. (March 6, 2011)http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=606
- Popke, Stacy. "Squeeze Exercise into Your Busy Day." The Diet Channel. Sept. 27, 2006. (March 6, 2011)http://www.thedietchannel.com/Squeeze-Exercise-Into-Your-Busy-Day.htm
- Real Women's Fitness. "9 Ways To Squeeze Exercise Into Your Busy Work Day." (March 6, 2011)http://realwomensfitness.com/womens-weight-loss/9-ways-to-squeeze-exercise-into-your-busy-work-day/
- Rossheim, John. "Fit fitness into your workday." Monster.com. (March 6, 2011)http://career-advice.monster.com/in-the-office/work-life-balance/fit-fitness-into-your-workday/article.aspx
- Shape Up America. "10,000 Steps." (March 6, 2011)http://www.shapeup.org/shape/steps.php
- Whole Living. "Outdoor Yoga Routine." July/Aug. 2005. (March 6, 2011)http://www.wholeliving.com/article/yoga-alfresco
- Zelman, Kathleen M. "Step Diet: Count Steps, Not Calories." WebMD. (March 6, 2011)http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-step-diet